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Friday, 4 April 2014

What’s happening to our high street?

Recent figures from Deloitte show one in five shops stand vacant after a number of large retailers have fallen into administration over the last five years.

However the high street is in fact performing better than retail parks and shopping centres when it comes to occupying vacant premises. Retail parks account for 37% of vacancy rates compared to the high street’s 20%.

Since 2009, 27 large retailers have entered administration, like Blockbuster and HMV, with some going bust and others closing down many of its stores and downsizing. According to research from the Local Data Company, more than 4000 shops have been left empty. Furthermore they believe there are, in total, around 43,600 shops currently vacant.

With the high street outperforming less central locations, there is noticeably a shift in the high street landscape, with many traditional shops being swapped for budget retailers and entertainment outlets, including restaurants and cafes. Deloitte revealed Poundland and other discount retailers are taking one in five vacant properties.

The ‘click and collect’ style of shopping is bringing shoppers back from online retailers to the high street as it more convenient for the busy customer who won’t often be around at home to sign for deliveries. The idea of picking up orders on the way to and from places like work is very appealing as consumers get what they want on their own schedule, not the postman’s!

There is still a long way to go to tackle the number of vacancies but evidence suggests the high street is coming back with cities and towns set to look a lot livelier in the future.

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